Rise of the New Year nip-tuck: How demand for cosmetic surgery tripled over the holidays

By HANNAH RAND, January 2, 2012

With all the parties and presents to buy, you'd think the run-up to Christmas would be the worst time of year to plan a nose job or a face lift.

Yet surgeons and dermatologists say December is their busiest period, with some tripling the number of procedures they normally do.

They explained that the downtime during the holidays gives patients time to recover from sores, scabs and unsightly scarring.

New York dermatologist Debra Jaliman says she was performing 15 skin-smoothing Fraxel laser procedures a week, a vast number given that she usually treats just five patients each week at any other time of the year.

She told the Wall Street Journal: 'People like to hide out while they heal.'

Plastic surgeon Dr Franklin Rose, who is based in Houston, Texas, also experienced soaring demand, with last month his busiest to date.

He told the paper that he performed up to 20 facelifts a week, twice the number of patients he usually operates on.

And bariatric surgeon Dr Michael H Wood, of the Detroit Medical Center's Harper University Hospital, says that he sees a ten per cent rise in demand for gastric band and bypass procedures.

'Patients do want to fly under the radar and they can do that during the holidays,' he said.

But hiding scars from friends isn't the only reason for the soaring demand - health insurance, it seems, is another important factor.

The paper reported that bariatric surgery - a procedure that helps the seriously obese lose weight - is more common in December as patients are more likely to have met their insurance plan's deductible limit by that point in the year.

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